Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mining Away for Trivia

I use trivia all the time to help students connect to the lesson at hand.  I use articles, books, stories, pictures, maps….all sorts of materials to introduce a subject, to use as a bridge to help students connect the known to the unknown, and sometimes I just use trivia for the entertainment value.

I’m on a constant search for trivia….

Are you familiar with Mental_Floss magazine?

Their website states:  Mental_Floss magazine is an intelligent read, but not too intelligent.   We’re the sort of intelligent that you hang out with for a while, enjoy our company, laugh a little, smile a lot and then we part ways.   Great times.  And you only realize how much you learned from us after a little while.  Like a couple days later when you’re impressing your friends with all these intriguing facts and things you picked up from us, and they ask you how you know so much, and you think back on that great afternoon you spent with us and you smile.   And then you lie and say you read a lot.

Mental_Floss is a perfect source when mining for trivia…..

Take these articles for example:

Nineteen Fun Facts About Children's Books…..Find out interesting facts such as which children’s author was on the run from the Nazis, which author was a window dresser at FAO Schwarz….and many other facts.

Everything You Would Want to Know About the History of Little Golden Books….The first titles were released in October, 1942.  After only five months 1.5 million books had been sold.   I see a fantastic motivation activity to use with students regarding their favorite Little Golden titles….

22 Fictional Characters Whose Names You Don't Know…..When teaching a mini-lesson regarding character use the information found in this article to your advantage.   Students will be interested in the real or full names of characters such as Captain Crunch, Peppermint Patty, Barbie and many others.

Head on over to the Mental_Floss website and begin collection information you can use in the classroom.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Recipe for Effective Schools

It's really a very simple recipe...on paper, that is.  

William Damon says the following in his book, Great Expectations:  Overcoming the Culture of Intelligence in America's Homes and Schools.....

Effective schools that work believe all children can and will learn.

Effective schools that work have staffs that work collaboratively.

Effective schools that work are empowered with building based management...not top down management.

Effect schools that work believe parents are critical to the community.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Poetry Ringo

Let’s say you need a no muss-no fuss type of activity to keep students occupied while you read with small groups or help various students with their creative writing….then Poetry Ringo might be your choice.

Start with the worksheet grid I’ve posted below.  This particular one is numbered to 28, but you can continue the grid onto the back of the sheet for as many squares as necessary.

 Provide students with the following directions:

Find and read a poem by these poets!   Write the poem’s title on the line after the poet’s name and then color in the corresponding square on your RINGO grid. 

Happy Reading!!!

1. Judith Viorst

2. Emily Dickinson

3. Gwendolyn Brooks

4. Christina Rossetti

5. Shel Silverstein

6. Joanna Cole

7. Dorothy Aldis

8. Jeff Moss

9. Jack Prelutsky

10. John Ciardi

11. Beatrice Schenk DeRegniers

12. Bobbi Katz

13. Aileen Fisher

14. Langston Hughes

15. Jack Prelutsky

16. Lucille Clifton

17. Marchette Chute

18. Judith Thurman

19. Rachel Field

20. Robert Louis Stevenson

21. Harry Behn

22. Myra Cohn Livingston

23. Mary O’Neill

24. Harry Behn

25. Adelis Stoutenberg

26. Robert Frost

27. Laura Richards

28. Carl Sandburg

29. Jeff Moss

30. David McCord

31. Bobbi Katz

32. John Ciardi

33. Christina Rossetti

34. Nikki Giovanni

35. Lord Alfred Tennyson

36. Aileen Fisher

37. John Ciardi

38. Valerie Worthy

39. X.J.Kennedy

40. Laura Richards

41. Jeff Moss

42. Vachel Lindsay

43. Charles Malam

44. Charlotte Zolotow

45. Karla Kuskin

46. Judith Viorst

47. Beatrice Schenk De Regniers

48. Gwendolyn Brooks

49. Shel Silverstein

50. Myra Cohn Livingston

51. Mary Ann Hoberman

52. Shel Silverstein

53. William Cole

54. Ravena Bennett

55. Mary Ann Hoberman

56. Eleanor Farjeon

57. Langston Hughes

58. Dorothy Aldis

59. Robert Frost

60. Karla Kuskin

61. E. P Young

62. Vachel Lindsey

63. Eve Merriam

64. Jack Prelutsky

Then have students respond to the following prompts to complete an essay:

Now that you have read a ton of poetry…which poets did you enjoy the most?   Write about your top three poems.   Identify the author, the title and explain why you liked the poem.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Follow Me to eBay

I have dozens of children's picture books and chapter books currently stored in airtight tubs in my basement.
I've come to realize they aren't doing anyone any good unless they are in the hands of a teacher or student.   I've finally begun the process of selling the the books on eBay. 

I have a button on the top of the right sidebar as you can see.   If you click the button you will be taken to my profile page at eBay.   Once there you can find each and every book I have listed for sale.     You can also follow this link.

There will be new listings each week, so check back often.

Eventually, I will be listing teacher resource books and my very own curriculum products!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Name Game

This game is perfect for the first day of school or anytime you need a quick activity.

Provide some sample words to students such as:  send, jell, hunt, club, sink, wave, fire, late, done or game.

Ask students to create a sentence using the letters in each word.  The catch is they must use a different classmate's name in each sentence.  The words in the sentences must begin with the letters in the same order as the given words.  When creating your list of sample words you might want to start with your class roll to make sure you have a word where every student is featured.

This game easily translates to a reading center and can be changed around to suit any needs in the classroom.

Let me know if you come up with any interesting variations.

Example:  POTS      Peter ought to share.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

November: Be of Good Cheer

Use these sayings as writing prompts or discussion starters:

One of the best things a man can have up his sleeve is a funny bone.

Be cheerful.  Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.
Be a lamp in the chamber if you cannot be star in the sky….
What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
The smile on your face is the light in the window that tells people that you are at home.
If we pause to think will have cause to thank.
No man ever inquired his eyesight by looking on the bright side of things.
I had no shoes and complained until I met a man who had no feet.
It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out…It’s the grain of sand in your shoe.
The more difficult the obstacle, the stronger one becomes after hurdling it.
Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
A smile is a curve that can set a lot of things straight.
A cheerful friend is like a sunny day
A rolling stone gathers no moss but it obtains a certain polish.
A problem honestly stated is half solved.

October Quotations: A Season of Happiness and Joy

These quotations make great writing prompts or discussion starters:
We are never so happy nor so unhappy as we imagine.
….folks are generally about as happy as they have made up their minds to be.
I know what happiness is, for I have done good work.
The only way on Earth to multiply happiness is to divide it.
Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to let them alone to do it.
I am born happy every morning.
Joy is not in things, it is in us.
Happiness is a thing to be practiced like a violin.
The secret of happy living is not to do what you like but to like what you do.
The way to be happy is to make others happy.
We do not know how cheap the seeds of happiness are or we would scatter them oftener.
Happiness is the only thing we can give without having.
There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.
Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.
Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.